CAMBRIDGE, MAStarbucks, the nation's largest coffee-shop chain, continued its rapid expansion Tuesday, opening its newest location in the men's room of an existing Starbucks.
"Coffee lovers just can't stand being far from their favorite Starbucks gourmet blends," said Chris Tuttle, Starbucks vice-president of franchising. "Now, people can enjoy a delicious Frappuccino or espresso just about any time they please, even while defecating."
The new men's-room-based Starbucks, the coffee giant's 1,531st U.S. location, will be open to both men and women when not "in use." In addition to offering specialty coffees from around the world, it will serve freshly baked pastries, Italian pannini sandwiches and soups, as well as the rest room's usual selection of toilet paper and soap.
"This is a great addition," said Jonathan Connolly, a Boston-area banker who tried out the new Starbucks Tuesday. "I was enjoying my usual triple mocha latté in the main Starbucks, and I had to go to the bathroom, where three people were in line to use the stalls. The wait might have been a problem, but, to my great pleasure, there was another Starbucks right there, ready to serve me more delicious coffee. And the baristas were helpful and courteous."
Connolly added that after he finished drinking his coffee and using the bathroom, he stayed for a poetry reading near the urinals.
"I was a little bit worried about the new restaurant cutting into our business," said Dave Grobelkowski, manager of the original Starbucks. "But the only people going there are ones who have already purchased items from us anyway. And if we run out of stirrers or cream, we can just go to the bathroom and borrow some."
According to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, the new location represents the beginning of a long-term expansion plan.
"Eventually, Starbucks rest rooms everywhere will sell coffee," Schultz said. "But that ambitious scheme is at least five years down the road. In the meantime, we plan to open an additional location in this Starbucks' ladies' room within months, and are already drafting plans for a fourth restaurant along the corridor leading from the main seating area to the rest rooms. At some point a 'Star-bucks Express' window will eventually open in the walk-in closet of the men's room Starbucks."
"Drink our coffee," Schultz said. "Drink it."